As I write this my heart is still so full from this weekend. I feel like my love of running has been refreshed and I feel so empowered from this race. Well, I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Also, don’t miss part 1 of my recap here.
Warning: This is a rather long recap. For the condensed version, see my final thoughts below.
Let’s back up…
Race morning came early. I woke up at 3:15am to my usual alarm song (Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles) and got ready to marathon. I mixed up my usual race breakfast of an oatmeal cup with a packet of almond butter and started to mentally prepare for the race. I put a little body glide in my usual spots (bra line and both feet) and then got started with my mantras.
When I ran the Chicago Marathon I wrote a mantra on the hand where my watch sits so every time I would look down I would see it. This race was no different. I wanted to finish strong and let it go. Let it go seemed fitting because I had a lot of things I needed to let go of. I wasn’t trained up for this race. Let it go. I was worried about injury. Let it go. I was disappointed I wasn’t at the level I wanted to be. Let it go.
After getting all my gear on I caught the Disney bus at our resort to the start line. I had a great chat with the woman next to me. Her husband was doing the Dopey Challenge (all four races) and we were talking all about her experience as a spectator. It helped pass the time and I was grateful to not be thinking about the race ahead.
I overhead two guy talking in the seats behind me and had a good silent giggle. One guy looked at his friend and said, “Just pretend you’re being chased by bears”, then his friend said, “Yea, dude but like are they angry?” I officially died laughing.
The bus arrived in plenty time for me to go through security, use the portajohn and stretch out. I sat down for a while before heading towards the corrals. Like most Disney races there was a 15-20 minute walk to the corral. I made it to my corral just as the fireworks went off signaling the start of the race.
I was in one of the middle corrals so we crossed the start line about 25 minutes after the first corral which was great. My plan from the beginning was to do a run walk interval of 10:1 and walk through every aid station. I knew this was my best chance of making it across the finish line without getting an injury on the way there.
The first miles were a little dark since the start was 5:35am. I waited for a free portajohn around mile 3 for about 10 minutes. I hate that it took so long to get through the line, but I wasn’t in a hurry and wanted to go before we got to the Magic Kingdom.
We ran through the Magic Kingdom and hit Cinderella’s Castle around mile 5. I stopped to take a picture in front of the castle and a kind runner took it for me. Selfies are hard with that many people. Haha. I really enjoyed the route through the Magic Kingdom because it was much longer than I remember for the Princess Half Marathon.
After MK we ran through some of the Disney resorts. They were beautiful and the sun had started to come out. It got hot for a while and I actually took my blue shirt off and just ran in my Anna tank. Around mile 12 we entered Animal Kingdom and that’s when I started looking for the Mr. My phone was dying, but I did manage to get a picture in front of the tree of life. A lot of runners stopped and rode Everest during the race. Looking back I would loved to have done that, but I was too worried at the time about the sweepers because I wasn’t well trained for the race.
I gave the Mr. my t shirt and sparkle skirt on my way out of Animal Kingdom and snagged my sun glasses. I was hot and couldn’t bear the idea of wearing or carrying extra clothes. At this point I was feeling okay, but knew we still had so much left of the race. I wanted a strong finish and I wanted to make sure I was fueling correctly since it was so humid and the walk intervals were making me slower. I wasn’t exerting as much energy as I normally would because I was taking the walk breaks but I knew I needed to adjust based on the amount of time it would take me to finish.
After we left Animal Kingdom the miles got REALLY long. There were a lot of highway miles and a lot of winding through Wide World of Sports. This was my only real complaint with the race. The miles through Wide World of Sports were painful because the scenery was the same until around mile 22 ish when we headed toward Hollywood Studios. The course also varied with a mix of road, gravel, sidewalk and track. Since my phone was dead I didn’t have any music to listen to, so I was beginning to get bored. I think if I would have had a little boost I wouldn’t have been so bored.
Around mile 15, I increased my walk interval to a 5:1 because I was feeling some pain in my feet (this I blame on my shoes) and my hip and knees. I should have ran in different shoes because I ran in my shoes from Chicago, but I didn’t have time to break in another pair and the ones I used for parts of December made my feet and legs hurt. I figured it was better to wear shoes that I had worn before then try brand new ones. I was still walking through every aid station as well.
When I got to mile 20 I further increased my walk interval and alternated between a 2:3 and 5:1. The toy soldiers up the ramp on mile 21 were hilarious as usual and provided some comic relief. There were several highway ramps (small “hills”) and lots of areas that were sloped so I walked those as well. I didn’t want to injure myself or totally wreck myself because I have a racecation in Miami next weekend.
I took a quick picture with the Mr. outside Hollywood Studios around mile 23 and then it was off to Epcot. We ran through the Boardwalk resort and then around the World Showcase in Epcot for the final miles. I loved that we ran around the whole thing. Each country we passed I just kept clicking through the miles knowing that at the end was the finish.
We rounded the corner and then there it was. The finish line was in sight and so was the end of my third marathon.
Honey Stinger vanilla waffle – 30 minutes before my corral crossed the start line
Huma Gel with Caffeine at 4, 8, 12 <— I like the mocha, chocolate and lemonade flavors
5 Margarita Clif Bloks over miles 16, 19 and 21
Drank a couple gulps of powerade and water at each aid station, but only water when I took a gel or blok
Disney gave us sponges around mile 18 and chocolate around mile 22 I think. It was awesome. I didn’t eat my chocolates because they sounded too sweet at the time, but the sponge was amazing. I squeezed the entire thing over my head.
Also, the snack boxes that Disney gave us when we went through the shoot were awesome as usual. There was a variety of snacks and a wet nap in mine.
This race was incredible and was a stark contrast from our experience at runDisney: Wine & Dine “Half” Marathon. Read all about that race here. The energy surrounding this race was also very different because there were so many marathoners and so many runners that had traveled from all over the world to be at this race. I think this race was unique because the course takes you through every park unlike the other runDisney events at Disney World.
I would absolutely run this race again! The weather was fine, the race itself was incredible and there are distances for everyone at this event. While I don’t know if I could do one of the challenges like the Goofy or Dopey I think it’s amazing that you have the opportunity if you want to. I don’t know how Dopey runners were able to run the 5k, 10k, half and then marathon four days in a row, but I can see myself running the marathon again or even running the 5k, 10k and half all together.
My heart is still so full because I did it. I crossed the finish line injury free and thankful for the experience to run another marathon. It was cold when I met up with the Mr. after the finish line and I was really sore. We wanted to get some food at one of the parks, but I was so tired and cold that we decided to head back to the resort. We ate turkey sandwiches from the resort cafeteria and went back to the room. I skipped my usual ice bath too which I am still regretting. I was so cold from the wind that I couldn’t bear the idea of an ice bath. I took a shower then got a little nap.
The Mr. and I relaxed for the rest of the afternoon then met up with some friends for dinner at Disney Springs. I had some grilled chicken with veggies, mashed potatoes and mac and cheese. I snagged a vegan gluten free cupcake from a bakery in Disney Springs and the day was a wrap.
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Have you ever ran this race?
Would you ever consider doing a race challenge like the Goofy or Dopey Challenge?